Fellow Greenies: help me out here, please!

Which particular fossil fuel do we hate the most? Yes, that’s right: COAL. And which particular political party hates coal the most? Yes, that’s right: THE GREEN PARTY.

So what the hell is a Green Party candidate doing supporting the opening of the first coal mine in England for more than 30 years?! And not just in any old place – just five miles from the ticking nuclear time-bomb that is Sellafield!

I can’t seem to get hold of Jack Lenox (said Green Party candidate, who described himself as ‘a big fan’ of the proposal during the Copeland By Election campaign), but this is now pretty urgent. West Cumbria Mining has lodged an application to open an undersea coalmine to extract huge volumes of coking coal – primarily for use by the steel industry here in the UK, although the reality of it is that much of it will be exported.

There are just five weeks to go before Cumbria County Council (the most obsessively pro-nuclear local authority in the UK) rubber-stamps the application – and, hey presto, we’ll have a brand new coal mine just a few miles from one of the world’ most polluted and toxic nuclear sites.

And here’s where it gets even more mysterious. You might imagine that both Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth (with their honourable track record opposing both coal and nuclear) would be leading the charge against such insanity. Not a bit of it: in fact, near-total silence from both. The only organisation that is in full-on opposition mode is Radiation Free Lakeland – and, please, check out the details on its website.

As I understand it, the sole justification from a sustainability point of view is that the extracted coal will be coking coal, not thermal coal (for use in power stations), with some preposterous notion that this will apparently produce a lower carbon footprint than coking coal imported from other countries. Yet so far as I can tell, no detailed lifecycle analysis, both direct and indirect, has been done by West Cumbria Mining, so why would anyone swallow that particular pile of coking crap?

In cases like this, I often think I must be going mad, and that may well be true. There’s a lot of it around these days.

But in this instance, my mind keeps turning to a potential spoof-tweet from the Donald: “I am a big fan of coal and a big fan of nuclear. Putting the two of them together sounds GREAT!”

Radiation Free Lakeland has prepared a template letter of objection, to be sent to Cumbria County Council, which you can amend to fit your own level of anger, rage, incredulity or world-weary cynicism. But please do it!